Marinara sauce is a versatile tomato based sauce loved around the world. Tomatoes were first introduced to the Old World in the 16th century, when the Spaniards brought them back from the New World. In the early days of marinara sauce, it was more like a modern day salsa than what it has evolved into today.
A traditional marinara sauce is a simple tomato sauce with basic ingredients – tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and herbs and sometimes onions. But like anything, there are always many, many different variations. A marinara sauce is usually a basic sauce that is just the first of many layers of sauces, used for just about everything. Marinara sauce was created in Southern Italy, along the coastal areas of Sicily and Naples. The name “marinara” was named after the fishermen and the sailors in the area, because they would always add seafood to their pasta and sauce. Another reason this delicious sauce was named from the sea is because its main ingredients traveled well and did not spoil easily, so the sailors always brought them with them on they sea voyages. There is also a more romantic version, that suggests it was made by the fishermen’s and sailors’ wives because it was an easy dish to make and they could have a hot meal ready and waiting for their men when they returned home from the sea.
As per my normal way of cooking, I had little bits and pieces leftover from other meals, and I put my thinking cap on to come up with a way to use them all up yet be creative and do something different as well. I had some more pepperoni and salami and just enough dough leftover from my latest torta rustica, Channeling the Italian Nonnas to make a small pizza. Well pizza needs a sauce right? And I had plenty of tomatoes. So I decided to make marinara sauce for the pizza. It couldn’t have been any easier – tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper. That’s it. It made me think of the old commercials for the Prego sauce where people were comparing the jar of Prego sauce to mamma’s home made sauce, and they said “it’s in there”, talking about all the flavors from home.
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 heaping TBSP garlic
2 lbs tomatoes, diced
1 TBSP dried basil
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried sage
2 TBSP tomato paste
salt & pepper to taste
Some people like to peel their tomatoes, but I usually don’t. I like the added texture from the skins. There is no right or wrong way, just a personal preference.
I used a combination of both extra virgin olive oil and some of my new Tuscan Herbed olive oil that i received as a birthday present !Viva Oliva! . I just put all my ingredients in a large pot and cooked everything down. Quick and easy-peasy and definitely delicious. I used a combination of both Roma tomatoes and hothouse tomatoes. The flavors of the fresh tomatoes were just bursting out. You can use fresh or dried herbs, but I find when I am making a sauce, that I am slow cooking, the dried herbs hold their flavors better. Fresh herbs are used more for a last minute addition.
Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring frequently. The time can vary depending on how thick you like your sauce. If you like a thinner sauce, don’t cook it as long, and if you prefer a thicker sauce, cook it longer.
Once your sauce is cooked down to your preference, use it however you like, on whatever you like. The tomato paste is optional. I used it to thicken my sauce, since I wanted a thicker sauce for pizza than for pasta.
Dinner was a a little bit of pizza, a simple salad, and some red wine. !Deliziosa! !Mangia!
Stay safe, stay well and stay warm Everyone. ‘Til next time.